Monday, 20 December 2010

Then and Now

When I built my first web site 12/13 years ago, it never occurred to me that one day I myself would appreciate looking back at it. I was so thrilled at having discovered a new skill (though I use the word loosely) in my fifties that I started my 'website for beginners' with the aim of encouraging others to have-a-go. I hoped to pick up feedback and comments that would help me progress, but spreading the word that we can ALL paint was the main goal. But now my website has paid me back in a way I'd never expected. It has served the purpose of a first class chronology of my development (again, using the word loosely - LOL). For years, artists who have tried to help me have been nagging me about tonal values. "Push the darks" one would frequently tell me - "Push the darks". Would I listen? Yes, every time. Did I push in those darks? Nope. For some reason, probably confidence, I've just not been able to get 'heavy' with the tones.

More recently, as my confidence has improved, I've started laying in those dark colours but hadn't really noticed ... until now. The other day I was dealing with an issue on my website and it caused me to look back at one of my older pages. I was shocked as to how pale and insipid my art was back then. I currently have 6 pages of watercolours and stepping through them in order, it is only when I get to the last page that my work has any degree of contrast and tone. The difference in my work between pages 5 and 6 is very noticeable.

I know we can keep our paintings and arrange them chronologically, but how many of us do? Many of us have blogs, but how many of us look back at our early posts and compare those paintings to our present ones. However you store or record you paintings, have a look back at how you were painting several years ago. Will you notice a difference? I think most of you will.

Due to a full time job, a shortage of time for hobbies and a significant lack of talent, my development has been very, very slow. But seeing older work alongside newer work proves beyond question that development, as slow as it has been, has nevertheless happened ... and that makes me very happy. ;-)


  1. Well John, Your progress is very noticeable on this days post.. I too have that same timid drawback sometimes. When I look at others and see those darks so pronounced I realize thats what makes the painting pop. I still struggle and I've been at it for awhile. You are light years ahead already.Just imagine what you'll do when you retire? and BTW thanks for your comments the other day.

  2. Thank you Barbara. Looking at your work I can't imagine you ever struggling with tonal values. As it happens, my semi-retirement starts at Xmas so more painting is definitely on the agenda for the new year.

  3. Wow! What a difference! No lack of talent here John! It is a very good idea to look back on old work to encourage you to keep at it :0)

  4. Indeed it is Sandra but I've only just noticed any real improvement. A good friend told me a short while ago that my work had changed recently but I've only just seen it for myself. Thanks for your lovely comment.

  5. It makes painting all the more enjoyable when one realizes how one has grown, and your work has certainly done that. I enjoy visiting your blog. Happy holidays.

  6. Thank you Jean. There are times when I wonder of I'll ever make any progress, so times when I see that I have are priceless. Happy Holidays. John